Former Detroit Tigers All-Star hitter Rusty Staub dies at 73
Former New York Mets first baseman Rusty Staub died Thursday at Palm Beach, Florida hospital, according to the New York Daily News. When I spoke with him a few months before that, I asked Staub if he had a message he wanted to pass along to Montreal baseball fans who still remember him fondly. Staub survived a heart attack on a flight from Ireland to NY in October 2015.
Staub would have turned 74 this Sunday.
In 1985 he established The Rusty Staub Foundation which raised millions for families of policemen, firefighters, emergency service, and port authority officers killed in the line of duty.
The highlight of Staub's time with the Mets was the 1973 NLCS as he helped the team defeat Cincinnati's "Big Red Machine" to reach the World Series for the second time in franchise history. He was an original member of the Expos, but also played for the Mets, Astros, Tigers and Rangers. In all, Staub hit.341 with 11 RBIs in his only postseason, a clutch and gritty performance that endeared him to Mets fans forever. He did not miss a game in 1971 and posted a career-best.311 batting average to go with 19 homers and 97 RBIs.
On a bad Expos team in 1969, he hit.302 with 29 home runs, while using his powerful arm to produce 16 outfield assists.
The Mets came close to derailing what would become a three-peat dynasty in Oakland, losing in seven games.
In Detroit, Staub became the first player to play all 162 games exclusively as a designated hitter. He also served as a team broadcaster.
Staub was an all-star in each of his three seasons with the Expos before being traded to the New York Mets after the 1971 season in exchange for Tim Foli, Mike Jorgensen and Ken Singleton.
It was a public relations home run for the Expos, who drew 1.2 million fans to Jarry Park in their first season, an impressive number at the time.
He had 292 career home runs and an even 100 pinch hits in his career, and shares the all-time record with eight consecutive pinch hits in 1983. He was the only player in major league history to have at least 500 hits with four different teams.
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